"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Mystery in Moonlight
Spotlight on Gothic and Historical Paranormal Romance
Joy Nash loves to write her dreams — and occasionally, her nightmares. She pens tales of love and adventure with a paranormal twist — stories filled with magic, mirth, and muscle. Joy has won numerous awards for her small press romances, including the honor of three PRISM Award nominations. June 2005 saw the release of the paranormal historical CELTIC FIRE from Dorchester Publishing. Celtic Fire is the recipient of a Reviewer’s Choice Award from Cataromance, and is a current finalist for the 2005 Readers and Bookbuyers Best Laurie Award.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Joy N.: Like most writers, reading has been my favorite pastime since childhood. As a teenager, I wrote the typical (horrible) angsty poetry and toyed with the idea of a writing career, but practicality won out and I became an architect instead. You may think that’s a completely opposite direction from writing, but it's really not. The creative process, whether you’re imagining a building or a story, follows much the same path. Also, as an architect, I learned to pay very close attention to detail, a skill that has helped my writing.
I started writing during the time I took off from work to be at home with my three pre-school age children. While finger painting was fun, I found I really missed having a more serious creative outlet. Obviously, all that childbearing had made me insane, because I barely had enough time to breathe, let alone think about writing a book. And yet I did.
PNR: What do you enjoy most about writing? What is the most frustrating?
Joy N.: I think the biggest appeal of writing is getting to create a world in which the characters do what I want and don't talk back! At least, that's the case most of the time <g>.
The first draft is definitely the most frustrating part of writing. In face, right now, I'm filling out this interview rather than working on a rough draft! I love the point when the first draft is done and I can concentrate on transforming my ideas into something really special. I'm obsessive about rewriting. I go over and over the story until I’m satisfied the characters are vivid, the emotion is strong, the action is exciting, and the prose is as beautiful as I’m able to make it.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, what is your favorite genre to read?
Joy N.: I read many genres, but I love romance most of all. I especially love historicals, and am always on the lookout for unusual settings and time periods - though I love a good, sensual Regency. I read futuristic and paranormal romances, with the occasional contemporary thrown in. Outside the romance genre, I read tons of Young Adult fiction, including manga graphic novels, most of it brought into the house by my kids. I like fantasy and science fiction as well. I recently reread Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.
PNR: Where do you get your story ideas?
Joy N.: Well, I have a theory about that. I think all the stories that haven't yet been written exist in a place called Storyland. It's my challenge to find a window into Storyland and pull a story into the human world. Sometimes the story comes easily; other times it has to be coaxed. I practiced meditation for a number of years and have found that for me, meditation is a direct path to Storyland. Most of my ideas seem to magically pop up when I'm not consciously thinking about writing. Other ideas just sort of appear on my laptop screen (the work of faeries, perhaps?) while I’m writing a synopsis or a rough draft. Sometimes I sit down at my computer and wonder what new element is going to appear in my story that day.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Joy N.: A great story includes wonderful characters, compelling emotion and dialogue, and a distinctive voice. I also like a story with a high level of sensuality and a fair amount of action due to a plotline outside the romance. My favorite books have all these things elements plus an interesting, almost musical rhythm to the prose. Got all that?? No wonder writing is such a challenge!
PNR: Historical-paranormal romance seems to be experiencing a revival, what do you feel is responsible for its return to popularity? What made you choose to write in this genre?
Joy N.: I think one reason historical paranormal is popular right now is that the past ten years saw the historical market becoming more and more narrow, shutting out so many time periods and settings. As a result, the books started to feel too similar, and of course, readers became disenchanted. At the same time, contemporary paranormal, fantasy, and futuristic subgenres were expanding their readership. So it's a natural step to take paranormal into the past to provide variety to the plotlines in historical novels.
My first reading love was the fantasy genre, which often includes historical elements. So it's a natural fit for me to write historical paranormal romance.
PNR: In Celtic Fire, mythology is woven throughout the story, what challenges did you face when using paranormal elements in this historic setting?
Joy N.: While writing Celtic Fire, I didn't really think of the story as being all that paranormal. The people of that time believed in ghosts and magic, so I viewed the paranormal element almost like a historical reality. I wove elements of Celtic and Roman mythology into the story to help the reader understand the world views of the characters.
There's also a good bit of Druid magic in Celtic Fire, and, of course, the ghost, Aulus, who did not talk at all in the book. It was very absorbing creating a character with no dialogue. Aulus, the hero's murdered younger brother, is seen entirely through the character of the hero, Lucius. Several people have told me Aulus is the best ghost they've encountered in a romance novel.
PNR: Your characters strike an emotional cord with readers, could you tell us a little about their development? Which character is your favorite? Most challenging?
Joy N.: Ack! That's like asking me to say which of my children I like best! As I mentioned, the character of Aulus was the most challenging element in Celtic Fire. Showing the troubled and poignant relationship between Lucius and his dead brother was something I worked very hard on. I also loved developing the relationship between Lucius, the Roman hero, and Rhiannon, the Celtic heroine. The two came from such different worlds. Their people were at war and their situation hopeless, and yet, they managed to find their own protected space in which to fall in love. Lastly, I do have a special place in my heart for Celtic Fire’s heroes-in-training: Rhiannon's younger brother Owein, and Lucius's son Marcus.
PNR: Your upcoming release, The Grail King, looks exciting; can you give us a preview of your take on the Grail legend?
Joy N.: The Grail King is Owein’s story. He appeared as a teenage Druid initiate in Celtic Fire. Thirteen year later, Owein is an embittered and war-weary hermit living alone in the Welsh mountains. His heroine is Clara, the sheltered daughter of the Roman Commander who destroyed Owein’s mountain village. The pair join forces to search for a magic grail.
The Grail King is the first book in my paranormal Druids of Avalon trilogy. Yes, the grail in the title is 'the' Holy Grail. Owein and Clara, after they find their happy ending, become ancestors of King Arthur. I've incorporated Celtic legends of the Holy Grail and elements of Arthurian legend into the story. Much of the action takes place on the sacred isle of Avalon, home to a band of outlawed Druids.
I have some exciting promo events for The Grail King. Three special 'between the books' short stories, showing Owein's life in the years between Celtic Fire and The Grail King will be posted on my website starting in May. Also, watch my site for details on how you can win a custom made sterling silver medallion featuring the Druids of Avalon logo.
For a fun interview with Owein, check out the March 3rd entry in my blog at www.joynash.blogspot.com
PNR: What can readers look forward to in the coming months? Do you have any projects in the works?
Joy N.: After The Grail King’s release in August 2006, I have several books in the pipeline at Dorchester.
Spring of 2007 will bring the publication of my first contemporary romance, Twenty-Nine & Counting, a book which answers the question: What happens when a girl with no family meets a guy with too much? Nick, a down to earth, practical kind of guy, gets no end of grief from his big fat Italian family, including a variety of exasperating females and an irresponsible younger brother. Tori, age twenty-nine and counting, is a free spirited New Age shop owner. Just wait 'til Nick finds Tori's illustrated Kama Sutra...
I'm also thrilled to be included in Dorchester’s 2007 paranormal continuity series 'Immortals' with talented authors Jennifer Ashley and Robin Popp. Four witches call four Immortal Warrior brothers to battle to save the world from a fifth brother gone mad. The series begins in May 2007. My book, #3, as yet untitled, will be released in August 2007. The premise includes a contemporary alternate Earth setting--magic and magical creatures such as demons, vampires, werewolves, and the Sidhe are commonplace. My book takes place in Scotland and has a Celtic flavor.
After that, look for the next Druids of Avalon book, Guardian of Avalon, Marcus’s story, in late 2007 or early 2008.
So you can see, I'm a busy girl <lol>
PNR: Thank you Joy, for taking time out to talk to us, where can readers find out more about your upcoming projects, and how can they contact you?
Featured in this Issue:
THE GRAIL KING - The Holy Grail of legend unites a Druid hermit and the daughter of his Roman enemy in The Grail King...
Follow the magical Holy Grail and its Druid Keepers two centuries before King Arthur. Owein, a cursed Druid Seer, lives alone in the ruins of a mountain village. When Clara arrives seeking aid, Owein's first impulse is to turn her away...until he discovers she seeks a Druid Grail that could be the key to driving the Romans from the hills of Britannia forever...
SHADOWS - Crystal scientist Gina Petrillo scoffs
at the fortuneteller's words, until a seemingly harmless gem launches
her into a world where crystals are magic. She soon finds herself
imprisoned by a powerful rogue wizard.
Time is running out.New Concepts Pub.
May 1, 2005
Trade Size (reprint) Read the Reviews!
When a computerized bomb threatens the world, Heroes Incorporated turns to its least likely superhero to save the day. Supergeek Clark Kendall is humanity's last hope for survival, but he can't do the job alone. He needs the help of half-human/half-superheroine Blossom Breeze.
Blossom doesn't have a clue about her superheroine heritage. She's smart, sassy--and so not into geeks. Clark's got three short days to trigger the unique cascade of sex hormones that will activate Blossom's powers.
Unfortunately for humanity, Clark's superpowers don't extend into the bedroom.
New Concepts Pub.
February 13, 2004
e-Book Read the Reviews!
A VIEW FROM THE CLOUDS - Shy, serious Jackie Saranno never asks for anything--except in her dreams. Every night she sheds her inhibitions and plunges into an erotic scene hot enough to send her bedroom up in flames. Her dream lover is Max Patterson, the sexy-as-sin senior attorney at the Philadelphia law firm where Jackie works the computer help desk. Jackie knows better than to think her dream of Max could ever come true.
But maybe she's wrong. When Max calls for computer help, Jackie's the tech sent up to the sixty-first floor to take care of the problem. It's her chance to act out her fantasy in real life. Will she take it?New Concepts Pub.
July 4, 2003
Jewel's new neighbor claims he’s a fugitive from outer space. She thinks he’s kidding, but for a guy with a body like Dar’s, Jewel is willing to overlook a bad joke. Dar's escape from slavery on another planet has left him stranded on Earth at the worst possible time--without a psychic lover to protect him during a harrowing mental trial known as the Dream Journey, he will go insane. In Jewel, Dar recognizes his salvation. Only one question haunts him: will the passionate Earth woman survive her role as Dream Guardian?
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